Gov. McMaster says to expect legal battle with Labor Department over COVID-19 workplace safety rules

State - Regional

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster called the U.S. Labor Department’s threat of revoking the state’s safety plan another example of overreach by the Biden administration.

The Labor Department notified the state’s OSHA Tuesday about its proposal to reconsider and revoke ‘final approval for the South Carolina State Plan.’

Back in June, OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard to help protect health
care industry workers from the spread of the coronavirus. Officials said they reminded states of their
regulatory obligation to adopt an ‘at least as effective’ standard by July 21.

Federal regulators are requiring healthcare providers to give their employees certain PPE, follow social distancing guidelines and allow them paid time off to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Federal OSHA officials said South Carolina is one of three states that has yet to adopt the temporary standards.

Jim Frederick, the acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said, “The longer South Carolina refuses to adapt emergency temporary standard for healthcare workers. The longer they’re needlessly putting thousands of workers at risk for the spread of coronavirus.”

On Wednesday, McMaster said, “I think they have probably singled us out because we are a powerful voice for the constitutionality of legislation and laws and they are violating constitutional principles.”

The governor told state OSHA to prepare for a long, legal fight over this. He wrote on Twitter, “This is clearly a preemptive strike by the federal government. With no state regulators in the way, the federal Labor Department will be free to penalize employers who do not comply with President Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate.”

Frederick said their mission is to keep workers safe on the job. He said, “The agency will not hesitate to use all its resources to protect workers from known health hazards.”

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